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Temple 5 at Tikal
Located in the north of Guatemala, Tikal is one of the world's largest Mayan archaeological sites. The University of Pennsylvania and the Guatemalan government have teamed up to unearth it partially, but much remains underground, including the backsides of many of the structures you see in the photos.
In that, visitors get a sense of just how much remains unknown about this mysterious culture. In total, the "residential area" of Tikal sprawls out over an area of 20 miles, and as you might imagine, only a small percentage has been cleared and mapped. The best excavated portion of the site is called the Great Plaza, which includes the stunning Northern Acropolis, shown in the first photo below.
Historical Travel / Riviera Maya Travel / Mexico Travel / Mayan Ruins / Landmarks / Cancun Travel / → All Tags
If you're a cruise-ship day-tripper or an eco-lovin' beach bum traveling in Mexico's Riviera Maya, you're no doubt familiar with Tulum.
The oceanfront site of the Mayan ruins make it one of the most visited historical sites in all of Mexico. But, there is a nearby alternative that's just as beautiful and a whole lot less crowded: the ruins at Cobá, about 30 miles inland from Tulum.
If you have a day to spare and can visit both cities like we did, go for it. You'll get to see a range of Mayan structures, including temples, ball courts, and pyramids, and experience two completely different settings. But if you have to choose between the two (each is a good half-day excursion if you're staying near Playa del Carmen, more if you're coming from Cancun), here are our pros and cons of each spot: